FATVillage Arts District is Shaping The Future of Fort Lauderdale | BPB | Big Picture Broward
FATVillage Arts District Fort Lauderdale

How FATVillage Arts District Is Shaping The Future Of Fort Lauderdale

“In August, we intend to deliver a plan that will take the FATVillage Arts District in downtown Fort Lauderdale into an exciting era that will combine food with art and technology (FAT) and develop a neighborhood where people and businesses of all sizes can find a place to live, create, collaborate and socialize.”

— Alan Hooper, Co-Founder of Urban Street Development

The Arts Have Always Been A Guide For Development In FATVillage

Arts is no longer a charity in urban planning. It has become an investment in the economic stability and professional diversity of a region. The application of the arts in FATVillage is proof of this. Developers are dedicating greater attention to the arts as an economic driver, instead of simply maximizing retail space as a method of attracting cool businesses, loyal consumers, and innovative creators.

Though FATVillage is a relatively small neighborhood, it has a strong presence in the region as a creative hub. Every business, cultural amenity, and living space embraces the arts in some capacity. FATVillage’s growth has always been disciplined, intentional, and carefully planned to fulfill this vision. This same planning is carrying FATVillage forward and shaping the future of Fort Lauderdale.

FATVillage Arts District Fort Lauderdale

A Brief History Of FATVillage Arts District

FATVillage was founded by Doug McGraw in 1990. Its purpose as an artistic landmark was decided during its inception. Its origins created buzz around the arts in Fort Lauderdale, which have manifested in other parts of Flagler Village, prompting likeminded expansion in the surrounding neighborhoods.

In a recent interview with Invest: Greater Fort Lauderdale, McCraw explained, “FATVillage has consistently been a significant economic driver in the Broward County region. It has acted not only as an arts community but also as a nucleus for a lot of the development in Flagler Village. What we are doing in terms of using art as a driver of mixed-use development is still a new concept, and not many developers are integrating product development with a creative community in the same way that we are.”

Thoughtful curation continues to determine which types of businesses will lead FATVillage into the future — businesses with a foundation in arts and creativity.

For example, C&I Studios has been a foundation of FATVillage and a great representation of creative businesses leading the neighborhood into the future. They are among the first pioneers to expand the arts in Broward County, having played (and still playing) a leading role in the development and consistency of FATVillage’s monthly art walk.

Additionally, they are feeding the evolution of FATVillage Arts District as a creative hub for food, arts, and technology with the growth of their nightlife enterprise Next Door at C&I — a lounge and bar featuring nightly community events, live concerts and open mic nights.

FATVillage Arts District Fort Lauderdale

FATVillage As A Home Base For The Arts & Economic Driver For The Community

The successful application of the arts as an economic driver and professional diversifier in FATVillage is impacting surrounding neighborhoods.

For instance, Mass District, just east of FATVillage, is also using the arts as a centerpiece for development. They have also extended the influence of the FATVillage Artwalk by starting another neighborhood art walk on the last Saturday of the month. Perhaps when both areas develop further — say, into a united pedestrian hub — the two art walks will connect and tie both communities together.

The Virgin Trains Station (formerly the Brightline) is another great example of how FATVillage has become a centerpiece of downtown Fort Lauderdale. The light rail station is strategically placed between FATVillage and the Riverwalk, uniting Fort Lauderdale’s cultural epicenter with Miami’s and West Palm Beach’s downtowns. Moreover, the accessibility produced by the Virgin Trains Station strengthens FATVillage’s influence in South Florida as a creative hub. This level of connectivity will drive more awareness of everything that FATVillage has to offer.

FATVillage Arts District Fort Lauderdale

FATVillage 2.0 [Food, Arts, and Technology]

FATVillage’s inherent arts DNA is driving thoughtful development across the region, placing urban planning in the hands of disciplined creators, like Urban Street Development Co-Founder, Alan Hooper.

“We want to help FATVillage evolve into the place it should be,” Hooper told Invest. “ A place that is attractive to creative businesses while maintaining the artists who made us a well-known destination. We want to build some affordable housing for artists and local creative people, as well as really cool workspaces for start-up businesses that might represent art in another way, through video or audio, the art of the word, or the art of food… In the end, we are creating a village that all people can grow with, be a part of, and enjoy.”

FATVillage remains the strongest piece in a master plan to connect Fort Lauderdale’s cultural hubs. And with each new addition, the area becomes more welcoming, functional, and livable for all people who socialize in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Keep reading to learn how you can help shape the future of Flagler Village!

Save the one stop shop Fort Lauderdale

Going, going…

The one stop shop is almost a green space. But the future of such a valuable amenity is still in the lurch…

The One-Stop Shop on Andrews Avenue and 2nd Street was recently demolished. For now, the city commission is designating the real estate as community green space. However, this decision is not absolute. In fact, the fate of our community’s final piece of downtown green space is still undecided.

We believe the best use for the land is to create a permanent community park for Flagler Village. A community park suites the vision for the area, acting as a waypoint between the Riverwalk and FATVillage, a gathering place for families and neighborhood activities, as well as, a welcoming mat for Virgin Trains passengers traveling from Miami and West Palm Beach.

If you believe the city should designate this prime piece of real estate to benefit the residents of downtown Fort Lauderdale, then email your City Commissioner today in support of creating a permanent community park on the corner of Andrews Avenue and 2nd Street!


Mayor Dean Trantalis — dtrantalis@fortlauderdale.gov
Vice Mayor Robert McKinzie — RMckinzie@fortlauderdale.gov
Commissioner Steven Glassman — SGlassman@fortlauderdale.gov
Commissioner Heather Moraitis — hmoraitis@fortlauderdale.gov
Commissioner Ben Sorensen — BSorensen@fortlauderdale.gov

FATVillage Arts District Fort Lauderdale